Yesterday, after even Fox News host Martha MacCallum acknowledged that the stock market plunged as a result of Donald Trump’s tweeted demand that American companies “immediately start looking for an alternative to China,” Graham was upbeat. “I like it,” he said about Trump’s tactics. “I’m 100% with him.”
That’s his public stance. Off camera, Graham has sung quite a different tune. In October, 2018, The New York Times reported, “The senator has written seven letters to the United States trade representative on behalf of companies seeking tariff relief — more than any other member of Congress has penned. Four of those seven received at least some of the relief they were seeking.”
According to The Times, Graham also told the Trump administration, tariffs could “economically harm consumers and stifle economic growth in South Carolina.”
Not surprisingly, Graham didn’t mention any of that, nor did MacCallum ask, as Graham dismissed the stock market plummet and higher prices as no biggie in relation to Trump’s glorious leadership: “The stock market doesn’t impress me at all when it comes to China,” Graham said. “What impresses me is the president’s determination to get them to change their behavior.”
Graham even suggested Trump further escalate the trade war: “They sell us a lot more than we buy from them. We could put tariffs on a lot more products coming out of China than they can put tariffs of products going into China from the United States."
It was pretty clear who Graham thinks should make the sacrifices. “Will we feel this as consumers? Yes," he said cavalierly. He even tried to scare us into paying the costs: “Here’s what I would tell the American people. If Donald Trump doesn’t do it, who else will and if you don’t do it, you’re gonna lose the world to China," he fear mongered.
It was also pretty clear that Graham is not going to stick his own neck on the line. Despite his own behind-the-scenes opposition, Graham all but pulled out the pompoms for Trump’s trade war now. “Mr. President, keep it up. You’re the only guy in my lifetime who’s ever taken on China. And you’ve got a good hand, play it out,” Graham gushed.